Graham Rahal, Fleet Cost & Care, and a New Helmet Get the INDYCAR Season Started in Texas
Fort Worth, TX (June 6, 2020) – After many delays and schedule rearrangements the 2020 NTT INDYCAR Series finally got underway at the Texas Motor Speedway last Saturday night with the running of the Genesys 300. The race, run with a multitude of operational changes due to COVID-19 and without fans in attendance was a harbinger for the sports community’s return to live action.
If the three month delay of the season and the race being bumped to NBC in the primetime, 8:00 PM Saturday slot was not enough hype for primary sponsor Fleet Cost & Care (FCC), their driver Graham Rahal would be making laps with new helmet design by FCC graphic designer Cindy Romano.
A delayed Start
Less than 24 hours before the first race of the 2020 INDYCAR season was to begin organizers canceled the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg due to the growing concerns of COVID-19 on American soil. That was March 13th. Nearly three months later drivers, teams, and essential personnel descended to the Texas Motor Speedway for what would finally be the first race of the season.
Fleet Cost & Care, in its fifth year of sponsoring Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Graham Rahal’s #15 car was excited to see Rahal’s car draped in the Fleet Cost & Care livery for the for the season opener on national television.
After the cancellation or the first five races and a flurry of other schedule rearrangements, drivers, their teams, fans, and sponsors were eager to get the season going as Saturday night’s green flag approached.
Hopes were high as Graham Rahal has a record of performing well at Texas Motor Speedway, with a podium finish in 2019 and victory in 2016. Unfortunately, Graham Rahal’s car had technical difficulties at the beginning of the race, which made it difficult to recover from due to mandatory pit stops at 35 laps under a green flag, and the reduction in the length of the race, both adjustments related to operating in the new landscaped of COVID-19. Rahal finished 17th.
“Very Disapointed. Our Fleet Cost & Care car was fast, but we were doomed from the start. Sadly, the car wouldn’t start on the grid.” – Graham Rahal
“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but this is a long season. We are looking forward to Graham getting back to the top of the pack quickly,” said Fleet Cost & Care President, Jeff Curran. “As always, we are thoroughly impressed with how Graham, his team, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) operate – especially given these strange times. We are fortunate to be able to continue to grow our partnership with these great people” Curran added.
Given the huge hole left by the postponement of all major sporting events, the American public was eager to tune into last Saturday’s race. NBC Sports announced that the Genesys 300 was their most-watched INDYCAR race on record excluding the Indy 500s. The season opener averaged a Total Audience Delivery 1.285 million viewers.
Back in April Graham Rahal called for his fans to submit helmet artwork for a contest on Twitter. The winning design would be worn at an INDYCAR race this season. Jeff Curran, Fleet Cost & Care’s president, suggested the company’s graphic designer, Cindy Romano enter the contest. Not only did Cindy submit an entry she ended up winning. She was up against many other great entries, but in the end her design, named “Everyday Heroes” won the fan vote on Twitter. Thank you to all who voted!“I was trying to come up with a theme to develop the design around and because we are living through this pandemic right now, I just thought about ‘Everyday Heroes’ and who those people are. As Jeff Curran mentioned, my daughter works for the Mayo Clinic. She is a medical ICU nurse – so she’s going to be doing this for the long term. This is designed around the first responders and all the other people, all of us really, because we are all in this together. I wanted to have a patriotic feel to it as well,” said Romano.
Upon learning the Cindy worked for Fleet Cost & Care, Graham and his team at Bell Helmets got to work to produce the helmet for the season opener, which was also FCC’s weekend as the primary sponsor. In the week prior to the race, Graham presented the finished product to Cindy and other members of Fleet Cost & Care in the feel-good Zoom meeting of the week.
We might be a little biased, but that helmet sure looked nice on Graham and his Fleet Cost & Care fire suit!
This was a different type of race weekend for Fleet Cost & Care in its fifth season as sponsor of Graham Rahal’s No.15 car, but we are hopeful that we are nearing an in-person return to the track soon.
Fleet Cost & Care continues to grow their relationship with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and their love of making new INDYCAR fans. We hope to see you at the track soon!
For more details about the Series, please visit www.indycar.com.